There’s no denying that gingerbread is a classic holiday dessert. Flavored with ginger, cloves, allspice and some additional sweetening ingredients, this tasty treat offers some nutritional benefits that might just surprise you!
Originating in Southeast Asia, ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger comes from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in the spice, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. According to National Library of Medicine, gingerol could also explain ginger’s role in keeping blood sugar levels steady, which helps to control on of the long-term effects of type 2 diabetes. The health benefits of ginger are endless, such as reducing symptoms of nausea, helping with osteoarthritis, and treating uncomfortable indigestion.
Depending on the recipe, the spices used with ginger are equally as healthy. With significant levels of copper and iron, allspice is ideal for increased circulation and blood flow. Eugenol, quercetin, and tannins are all chemical compounds that aid in the antioxidant properties within allspice, perfect for removing toxins from the body.
Known for their sweet and fragrant spice, cloves have also been used for their medicinal properties. In fact, one teaspoon of ground cloves contains 55% of the daily value of manganese, an essential mineral for healthy brain function and building strong bones. Studies have also shown that due to their antimicrobial properties that help to eliminate harmful bacteria, cloves may promote oral health in combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene.
It is important to note that despite their many health benefits, gingerbread cookies and cakes are often loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, so too much of a good thing can be bad.
Check out some of our favorite recipes that feature ginger for more inspiration!
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